Evidence of meeting #102 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was undrip.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Merrell-Ann Phare  Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and the Phare Law Corporation, As an Individual
Thomas Isaac  Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, As an Individual
Sheryl Lightfoot  Canada Research Chair in Global Indigenous Rights and Politics, University of British Columbia, As an Individual
Sharon Stinson Henry  Member, National Indigenous Economic Development Board
Jessica Bolduc  Executive Director, 4Rs Youth Movement

4:20 p.m.

Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and the Phare Law Corporation, As an Individual

Merrell-Ann Phare

Well, I was about 16 years old then. At the beginning, for a very long time, nobody knew what section 35 meant. There weren't any cases that described what was actually included in the 1982 amendments. Since then, we have spent a lot of time in court, as my colleague pointed out, trying to define what it means. I think reconciliation is actually about not continuing to wait for court decisions to tell you how indigenous governments—not just indigenous people, but indigenous governments—can be part of the Canadian governance structure to prevent those kinds of fights. That's the whole point. Yes, you start from a place of ambiguity, and you work together. I interpret Bill C-262, the action plan, the laws and compliance provision, for example, as saying that we need to have a conversation. I know that a number of commentators have said this is about the start of a conversation. We have to figure it out together. That's the whole point.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

If you were to amend Bill C-262, what would you suggest? Are there areas we need to amend, or are you satisfied with the bill as is?

4:20 p.m.

Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and the Phare Law Corporation, As an Individual

Merrell-Ann Phare

What I care about is that it must be acted on. That's what I care the most about. I see the minister having to report back every year as being focused on that. It's almost the public shaming part of making a law enforceable: the minister has to show up and show what's happened every year. I would like to see more teeth in that section, and the action plan has to have specific targets and deliverable elements to it. That's my concern about it. I would like to make sure there's a high degree of accountability in ensuring it's implemented.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Mr. Isaac, I know you're suggesting we don't adopt Bill C-262 as is, right?

4:20 p.m.

Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, As an Individual

Thomas Isaac

As is, as currently drafted.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Okay. I know this question was posed to you before, but, is it amendable? Or is it something that we don't implement altogether?

4:20 p.m.

Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, As an Individual

Thomas Isaac

I think it's completely amendable. When you think back to 1982, everybody saw that it was an empty box, and our courts filled in the box. Equally, I would think with some good DOJ drafting, with some good guidance from this committee, how we're going to actualize this, how we're going to implement UNDRIP in practical terms—not the complete work plan, but what it means in Canadian law—is quite achievable.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

The questioning concludes with MP Arnold Viersen.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you to our witnesses for being here today as well.

One of the things I was very taken with, Ms. Phare, was your explanation of the particular implementation or bringing in of the decision-making to first nations people. What you were laying out there sounded amazing. I just don't see that in this bill. Could you explain how you would get from this bill to a conversation? I would rather see a bill about the conversation, on how we bring that in. That would be much more to the point, right?

4:25 p.m.

Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and the Phare Law Corporation, As an Individual

Merrell-Ann Phare

In my comments, I think I said that collaborative consent is a nation-to-nation approach to getting to the UN declaration. You have a couple of sets of commitments that are all around this, including this government's commitment to building nation-to-nation relationships. I think looking at them independently is one of the problems. You want to look at the specific requirements that are being set out in Bill C-262, which are about making laws and ensuring that they don't conflict. It's about an action plan of working together. My suggestion to you is that that's not as hard a job as it looks if you have the other structures, the governance reform that I talked about and consent-based governance relationships. If you have them in place, I think—

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Wouldn't we be better off with a bill that talked about those governance structures?

4:25 p.m.

Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and the Phare Law Corporation, As an Individual

Merrell-Ann Phare

You don't normally put governance structures like that in a bill. What this means is that indigenous governments have to work together with non-indigenous governments to create these tables. We don't have FPT tables in our legislation. That's the way governments work together to solve problems. That's what's needed here too. You're not going to be able to write everything out or solve everything in the bill. What you need is the bill to enable the smart decisions of governance, how we make decisions together as nations that made this country.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Isaac, my colleague put some words in your mouth saying that this is scary legislation. Do you have any comments on that?

4:25 p.m.

Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, As an Individual

Thomas Isaac

Look, the legislation is not scary. We shouldn't be scared of reconciliation. I think we should aggressively pursue reconciliation. We should aggressively pursue looking at UNDRIP, but my point is that we have to do it in a way that is thoughtful and prudent. For example, we talk about making sure that laws don't conflict with section 35. What about a debate on consistency with section 35? I'd suggest that those are two different things. I think that would be a healthy debate.

In no way am I suggesting, and I don't want it inferred or anyone reading between the lines, that this is against reconciliation. It's about doing it in a way that respects the three-plus decades that indigenous and non-indigenous peoples have worked to build up the single-most robust protection in any state on the globe to protect indigenous rights, and we're not done yet. I didn't say we're done, but that is a reality. If we're going to start fiddling around with that, we need to be very thoughtful with it, out of respect for the very objective or goal we're trying to achieve. I don't think that's offensive at all to the truth and reconciliation question. If anything, I would say that it's very respectful of it because we want to do it right.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We're going to conclude this panel. We'll take a short recess and then reconvene with our second panel.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Welcome, everybody. Let's get started. I appreciate that you're all here.

I have the first presenter as Sheryl Lightfoot. Are you ready to go? It's for up to 10 minutes.

I'll give each of you some signals, and then we'll go into questioning.

Welcome.

4:30 p.m.

Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot Canada Research Chair in Global Indigenous Rights and Politics, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

Good afternoon.

I want to open this afternoon by acknowledging the lands of the Algonquin people, where we are meeting today.

My name is Sheryl Lightfoot. I'm an Anishinabe from the Lake Superior band of Ojibwa. I'm the Canada research chair of global indigenous rights and politics at the University of British Columbia, where I hold a joint appointment as associate professor in both the first nations and indigenous studies program and the Department of Political Science. I hold a Ph.D. in political science with a specialty in human rights and international relations. I've studied and written specifically on the UN declaration for more than a decade, looking at its genesis, development, and implementation in both global and comparative perspective, in numerous articles, in book chapters, and in a 2016 book I published with Routledge press titled Global Indigenous Politics.

I am very honoured to be called before this committee to share a global human rights perspective on the proposed legislation. I view this legislation as a necessary first step toward implementing the UN declaration in Canada.

In the decade since its passage in the UN General Assembly, the UN declaration has gained universal consensus as an international human rights instrument and has been reaffirmed by consensus eight times in the UN General Assembly. A report by the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the 10-year progress of the declaration noted that it now informs the work of many global actors, has influenced the drafting of multiple new state constitutions and statutes, and has contributed to the development of laws and policies pertaining to indigenous peoples worldwide.

A similar 10-year anniversary report by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recounted progress in the areas of increased constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples and a growing body of jurisprudence, including important legal victories for indigenous rights in Belize, Indonesia, the African commission, Bangladesh, and the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Even with these positive steps, however, implementation of the UN declaration remains elusive around the world, as well as in Canada. Even in countries with strong legal frameworks, like Canada, severe implementation gaps remain between legal recognition and concrete action steps on the ground, and therefore actual implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples has been limited.

As a consensus international human rights instrument, the UN declaration reflects legal commitments that are related to the UN charter, other international treaty commitments, and customary international law. Implementation of indigenous rights in domestic settings is expected to be comprehensive and systematic. It has always been thought to include judicial, policy reform, and legislative avenues, the synergy of which will lead to full implementation.

The United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or EMRIP, wrote a 10-year report on the UN declaration and implementation, and it reads:

As States have the principal responsibility for adopting legislative measures and public policies to implement the rights recognized in the Declaration..., they should adopt measures to achieve this aim, including through the implementation of recommendations and decisions of all human rights bodies....

The United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples noted in her 2017 report to the UN General Assembly:

The effective implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples requires States to develop an ambitious programme of reforms at all levels to remedy past and current injustices. This should involve all the branches of the State, including the executive, legislative and judiciary, and implies a combination of political will, legal reform, technical capacity and financial commitment.

A UN handbook for parliamentarians on implementing the UN declaration, published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and several UN agencies, cites the law-making role of parliaments as of particular importance in the implementation of the declaration. This handbook suggests that legislative review and reform are essential first steps in implementation efforts and that all future national legislation should be evaluated for compliance with the UN declaration as an ordinary part of the legislative process. The handbook provides existing examples of national implementation legislation already adopted by Bolivia in 2007 and Republic of the Congo in 2011.

A similar manual for national human rights institutions states that national legislation is an important first step toward domestic implementation, but that “legislation alone is generally not sufficient”, so a national action plan should also be developed that includes legislation, a review of existing laws and policies, a complaints mechanism, stakeholder education, and active involvement of indigenous peoples in the development and implementation of the action plan.

The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, hosted by the UN in New York in September 2014, was held specifically to share best practices on indigenous rights and their implementation. The outcome document of the world conference clearly stated that the necessary elements for national implementation and the collective commitment of UN member states participating would include national legislative frameworks, law and policy reviews, and national action plans.

Calls for concrete national legal and political reform measures in Canada began as early as 2011, at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Then, by June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada announced the release of its summary report. This report included 94 sweeping calls to action. These 94 calls, which were intended to form the blueprint for reconciliation into the future, call upon all layers of government to make fundamental changes in policies and programs in order to both repair the harm caused by residential schools and improve the relationship between government and indigenous peoples into the future.

Call to action 43 specifically states:

We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.

Call to action 44 states:

We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In all, 16 of the 94 calls to action make reference to the UN declaration. Because implementation of the UN declaration provides the necessary framework for reconciliation, it is therefore impossible, according to the TRC, for one to support the TRC and not support full implementation of the UN declaration. Rejecting implementation of the UN declaration equates to rejection of the TRC report.

In September 2017 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination—or CERD, the monitoring body for the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Canada signed in 1966 and ratified in 1970—conducted its periodic review of Canada. The CERD report applauded the current government's commitment to implement all of the TRC's 94 calls to action, but mentioned that the CERD is “concerned at the lack of an action plan and of full implementation”. The CERD made a recommendation that Canada develop, in consultation with indigenous peoples, a concrete action plan to implement the TRC's 94 calls to action and to implement the UN declaration and adopt a legislative framework to do so, along with a national action plan, annual public report, and a full legal, policy, and regulation review to ensure that all laws and policies are consistent with the UN declaration.

As all of these statements note, a legislative framework in Canada is a crucial initial step in implementing the declaration. Follow-up actions must then also include a national action plan, annual reporting, and a full policy and regulation review. The legislation currently under study would require the government to engage in all of these steps, and therefore better align Canadian law and practice with its international human rights obligations.

Thank you.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Very good.

The second presenter is Sharon Stinson Henry.

4:40 p.m.

Chief Sharon Stinson Henry Member, National Indigenous Economic Development Board

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Aaniin kina weya. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak with you today.

I would like to start by acknowledging that we are on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabe people.

My name is Sharon Stinson Henry. I'm a former chief of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation in Ontario. I'm here on behalf of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board.

Our board is made up of first nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, whose mandate is to advise the whole of the federal government on indigenous economic development issues. On behalf of the board, I'm pleased to offer information that may assist the committee in your study of Bill C-262.

The board supports the principle set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and believes it should be enshrined in the laws of Canada. As such, the board supports Bill C-262 and its recommendation for the full adoption of the declaration into Canadian law. The board commends Mr. Saganash's initiative for introducing this important bill.

The declaration describes 46 articles by which the international community and Canada, as a signatory, can work to achieve socio-economic equality and end the systemic racism which has limited the development of indigenous peoples for far too long. In January 2017, our board released a statement welcoming Canada's decision to fully support the declaration without qualification. In this statement, we noted that “by taking actions that are meaningful, measurable, and concrete, Canada can demonstrate its commitment to the [declaration] and improve economic outcomes for all Canadians.”

The board has also commended the TRC's recommendation that Canada adopt and implement the declaration as the framework for reconciliation, including the development of a national action plan, as well as strategies and concrete measures to achieve the declaration's goals.

To date, your government has made bold and inspirational statements describing the Government of Canada's commitment to renewing the relationship between Canada and its indigenous peoples, and to moving forward with reconciliation based on recognition of rights, respect, and partnership. In fact, Prime Minister Trudeau has stated that “No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”

Furthermore, in their mandate letters, Minister Bennett and Minister Philpott were directed to be part of the working group of ministers on the review of laws and policies related to indigenous peoples. The working group was tasked, among other things, with ensuring that the crown is fully executing its legal, constitutional, and international human rights obligations and commitments. Minister Bennett was specifically directed to work with the Minister of Justice to implement the declaration in full partnership with indigenous peoples.

Although we acknowledge recent steps taken by the government to implement the declaration, recent and upcoming reports released by our board show that there are still significant gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians in terms of completion of high school, university completion, labour force participation, employment, average annual income, and overall quality of life. Therefore, our board strongly believes that Bill C-262 would allow Canada to take concrete action towards achieving true reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Implementing Bill C-262 would enshrine the declaration in law today and for future generations, require the review of federal laws to ensure consistency with the standards set out in the declaration, require the federal government to work with indigenous peoples to develop a national action plan to implement the declaration, and require annual reporting to Parliament on progress made toward the implementation of the declaration. Our board believes that these requirements would promote and strengthen the spirit of partnership and mutual respect that marks Canada's stated commitment to reconciliation.

Among the declaration's articles, and of particular interest to our board, is article 3, which states that, “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Article 4 states, “Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.”

Indigenous self-determination is foundational to the board's vision of vibrant indigenous economies, characterized by economic self-sufficiency and socio-economic equality with the rest of Canada. To achieve self-determination, however, the right conditions for success are essential. In this sense, article 21 of the declaration states:

Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions....

States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions.

The board also believes that implementing the declaration would ensure the protection of reserve lands and traditional territories, and would allow for reserve sizes to go back to what they originally were. In this sense, article 8 calls upon states to “provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources.”

Article 10 further underlines this protection by stating:

Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

Article 26 is also relevant in this regard, as it calls upon states to give legal recognition and protection to the lands, territories, and resources which indigenous peoples have traditionally owned, occupied, or otherwise used or acquired.

In the past, our board has recommended that the Government of Canada take necessary steps to ensure that the standards set out in the declaration are met, and that it report annually on its progress toward these goals.

Specifically, we recommend that Canada ensure that indigenous peoples have equal economic opportunities in community development, education, employment, and access to capital; that indigenous communities have equal access to health care, clean water, safe and reliable housing, and healthy affordable food; and that Canada work in mutual partnership with indigenous people to develop legislative and policy alternatives to the Indian Act that would give further expression to the governance powers of indigenous peoples, and how they co-exist with the powers of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments.

Our board was, therefore, pleased to see that Bill C-262 aligns with our recommendations. We strongly believe that Bill C-262 will actively contribute to the reconciliation process in our country.

In closing, we believe that moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation, and rewriting laws and policies requires that we always work together to make sure that policies are not punitive or regressive, but that they are modern, innovative, progressive and, above all, fair.

As indicated in the declaration, “States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.”

Meegwetch. Thank you, Madam chair.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Thank you.

Our next presenter, another woman, which I'm glad to see because it's unusual, is Jessica Bolduc. Welcome.

April 23rd, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.

Jessica Bolduc Executive Director, 4Rs Youth Movement

[Witness speaks in Ojibwe]

My name is Jessica Bolduc, and I am Anishinabe, from the Bear Clan of the Batchewana First Nation. I'm grateful to be here as a guest on unceded Algonquin territory, and I want to begin by giving thanks to the Algonquin people for their continued presence and stewardship of this land.

Madam Chair, members of the committee, meegwetch for inviting me to be here today to share on behalf of the 4Rs Youth Movement. I send my gratitude to Mr. Saganash for his leadership, alongside many others, in putting this bill forward. I had the pleasure of meeting Maïtée, who is doing work around indigenous youth voices. She has a beautiful fierceness that I'm sure she gets from you.

The 4Rs Youth Movement has evolved over the past four years as a youth-led collaborative seeking to change the country now known as Canada by changing the relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous youth. 4Rs started with honest conversation about Canadian identity. It shaped our vision and our mission, and was followed by a reflection of the values that were necessary to do this change-making work with integrity, via respect, reciprocity, reconciliation, and relevance—the 4Rs. We believe that a relationship-based approach to social change will enable youth to formulate strategies for reconciliation that rebuilds Canada for both present and future generations. Thinking about reconciliation broadly, this means confronting an incredibly difficult history, one that continues to be lived daily and impacts our individual and collective experiences as indigenous peoples.

For 4Rs, adopting UNDRIP is about putting in motion the Canadian framework for reconciliation that must centre the needs, voices, and perspectives of indigenous peoples, communities, and nations in the process of talking about and working toward reconciliation.

As young people in this moment of our history, I understand that we'll be the generation leading the implementation of the TRC calls to action. I, and the young people I work with, are taking this responsibility seriously. Reconciliation to 4Rs is first about developing deep, authentic relationships across individuals, cultures, and geographies as a foundation from which systems change and new paradigms and actions will emerge.

Truthfully, though, these past few months have eroded my belief in Canada's reconciliation process. I'm not alone in this sentiment. Indigenous young people are speaking out about the reconciliation rhetoric that lulls us into a false sense of progress, but does little to enact real change. How is reconciliation possible when indigenous youth like Colten Boushie are treated without human dignity and decisions are made that tell our people that justice in Canada is not for us?

Last week, Jade Tootoosis, Colten's cousin, spoke powerfully at the international table calling for the United Nations to undertake a study of systemic racism against indigenous people in Canada's judicial and legal systems. She said:

The Canadian justice system has failed Colten, our community, and indigenous people in ways that impede our human rights. We deserve better. My brother Colten deserves better.

We do deserve better.

4Rs is led by indigenous young people, young people who are not unlike Colten, from our staff to our governance. We are supported by a network of settler youth and adult allies, because change requires working across cultures and across generations. When it comes to reconciliation, investments are needed in indigenous youth and communities so we can enter reconciliation processes in wholeness and on our own terms. This involves investing in indigenous youth to find strength and pride and identity. It requires centring and restoring indigenous languages and knowledge before, and at the same time as, we seed reconciliation. It requires that we look to break the cycle of systemic racism that Canada's social, political, and legal systems uphold. When lands and waters are under threat from development and pollution, we don't have a healthy environment for our shared work. Any consideration of reconciliation must also take into account the well-being of the earth.

Where Bill C-262 has the potential to impact 4Rs' work the most is in the interconnected pieces of UNDRIP that relate to the reclamation of indigenous identity through language, culture, and connection to land—articles 13, 24, and 31—helping to transform intergenerational trauma into intergenerational resilience and healing.

On January 21 and January 22, 2018, 70 first nations, Métis, and Inuit youth between the ages of 13 and 26 from every province and territory across the country gathered in Ottawa for the Hope Forum, a national gathering of indigenous youth leaders on healing and life promotion hosted by the organization We Matter.

I attended day two of the forum, a national round table discussion organized in response to the current mental health and suicide realities of indigenous youth in communities. The live broadcast of the round table was seen by 16,000 people, and the recorded video by 58,000 people. From there, a number of calls to action were put forward calling on all sectors of government and key influencers in the community to take action. All of the calls these young people put forward fit within the guidelines of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically relating to article 24, implementation of which is very important for indigenous youth.

Bill C-262 will make the recommendations of these indigenous youth undeniable. Recognizing on-the-land and cultural activities is a key aspect of indigenous mental health, wellness, and suicide prevention. Bill C-262, to me, is about furthering healing. It is about equity and restoration, as well as the preservation and survival of indigeneity, which is unique to the experiences and diversity of first nations, Métis, and Inuit youth.

Interpreting Canada's constitution, consistent with the declaration as proposed through Bill C-262, is a crucial step in implementing this reconciliation framework. It restores my hope that we can return to a process of reconciliation with integrity and mutual accountability. But in order to have integrity and be accountable, Bill C-262 requires Canada to build readiness, to do your work first to understand your role and responsibilities, and to work with respect, care, and collaboration with indigenous people, and then to set in motion a national plan of action.

This means that we all have a part to play, as individuals, families, leaders, organizations, institutions, communities, and all levels of government. I once heard an Anishinabe elder, Jim Dumont, say that language is the voice of the culture and culture is the strength of the language. This resonates with me because it demonstrates that the rights contained in UNDRIP are interconnected and interrelated, and therefore must be interpreted with the same holistic understanding and not be impacted by the constitutional division of powers between levels of federal and provincial governments, which tempt us to look at implementation in isolation.

However, implementation is not going to be easy, not because of the complexity of what is ahead of us, but because of fear. It's fear of the unknown; of getting things wrong; of having to share power, privilege, and resources; of hurting more people; and fears that limit Canada's ability to imagine a future with UNDRIP fully implemented. If we lead with fear, it will no doubt become embedded in the implementation of UNDRIP, eroding what is possible; destroying what is being borne; seeing history, yet again, repeat itself when it comes to upholding indigenous rights. Canada has to believe that UNDRIP is possible and embrace the discomfort and uncertainty that goes along with being in a relationship with indigenous peoples that is fundamentally different. It's not what we do that matters, but how we do it that will create the most change.

In that spirit I will begin to wrap up with some recommendations on the “how” for those of you who will be taking the next steps on Bill C-262.

Share a meal together. Get to know each other's stories, your hopes and dreams, but do it in the company of food.

Impart a relationship-based approach to implementation, not a top-down, isolated process that is removed from purpose and community.

Make this personal, if it isn't already.

Lead from a place of respect and caring and name your fears so that they can be worked on together and not left to fester.

Don't build fear and limiting beliefs into your implementation plan, making this inherently adversarial. Instead, lead with intention, hope, and possibility.

Acknowledge what you don't know. Reconciliation is a process of learning and unlearning. Ensure that all public servants working on Bill C-262 are educated in indigenous issues and policy, have undergone cultural competency training, and better yet, have lived experience—meaning, hire indigenous people.

Nothing about us, without us. Co-create with indigenous youth. Hire them as researchers, policy developers, negotiators, or lawyers. A whole mass of visionaries is waiting to be invited to be a part of the process and hold the solutions to the challenges that await you.

Be intentional about the inclusion of two-spirited, LGBTQ+ indigenous people. Explicitly state this in Bill C-262 and ensure that resources are allocated toward ensuring that their voices are heard and acted on.

Think and work in systems.

I have two more.

Take an ecosystem approach to implementing the national action plan. Bring systems change leaders into the conversation to help break down silos. Make your process transparent, inclusive, and accessible.

If my grandma, as an individual rights holder, cannot activate UNDRIP, then Bill C-262 is not adequate.

Take careful steps, but don't waste time. Individual rights holders must feel the impacts of implementation alongside the systemic and legal changes that are required. We cannot afford to lose any more indigenous lives.

Meegwetch.

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Thank you.

We move to the questioning round and will open with MP Mike Bossio.

5 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you so much for being here today to provide this witness testimony.

Through this whole process I'm trying to wrap my head around how we can.... Some individuals are saying that we have these three different ways we can deal with FPIC. Until we define that, we can't go ahead with Bill C-262 in a sense, or we can't go ahead with UNDRIP, because it's going to blow up the legal framework that we've developed in filling the box around section 35. It will have a direct impact on that. We have to have the black letter of the law first before we can have the nation-to-nation relationship. My whole view is why do they have to be mutually exclusive? Why can't they happen concurrently?

Of the three definitions that we've had around FPIC—acting in good faith without really obtaining it; or the type of process required through a consensus-oriented product, which the previous speaker called “collaborative consent”; or as a veto—how would you interpret this?

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Please direct your question.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

I'd like any one of them to have the opportunity to answer it.

Sheryl, do you want to start?